Department of Environmental Science, College of Natural Sciences, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea.
OBJECTIVES: N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and is formed during the chlorination of municipal drinking water. In this study, selected nitrosamines were measured in chlorinated drinking water collected from Chuncheon, Kangwon-do, Republic of Korea, and a risk assessment for NDMA was conducted.
METHODS: Twelve water samples were collected from 2 treatment plants and 10 household taps. Samples were analyzed for 6 nitrosamines via solid-phase extraction cleanup followed by conversion to dansyl derivatives and high-performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD). Considering the dietary patterns of Korean people and the concentration change of NDMA by boiling, a carcinogenic risk assessment from ingestion exposure was conducted following the US EPA guidelines.
RESULTS: NDMA concentrations ranged between 26.1 and 112.0 ng/L. NDMA in water was found to be thermally stable, and thus its concentration at the end of boiling was greater than before thermal treatment owing to the decrease in water volume. The estimated excess lifetime carcinogenic risk exceeded the regulatory baseline risk of 10(-5).
CONCLUSIONS: This result suggests that more extensive studies need to be conducted on nitrosamine concentration distributions over the country and the source of relatively high nitrosamine concentrations.